Saturday, March 26, 2016

The myth of superiority

There is no such thing as a superior person. There is only the complementary person. From a personal perspective, I don't even think of myself as superior to anyone else. I think of myself as complementary to others.

For example, my wife Alice and I are a team. She has skills that I can never master. I have skills that she can never master. Our talents, skills and abilities complement each other to form a team. We have built a home and then had children. Our job now is to give our children a better life than we had. To make the planet a better place than when we found it - or at least to leave it in approximately the same state of health as when we found it.

I think the same way about work. I'm no better than anyone else and vice versa. Our skills and talents complement each other and we use that to get the job done.

In the grand scheme of things, this is how humans are built. We are not built for superiority. We are built to complement each other. This is how we survive as a species.

So when I see Donald Trump (and many others) making racist statements I see a man who is making a vast assumption. To think that somehow, another race is inferior to one's own race, is to be unwilling to notice one's dependence on that other race for their inferior position in life.

I know, that probably doesn't read well, so let me see if I can explain. A sizable fraction of the white population in the United States has been thinking, claiming and acting as if they are superior to other races, particularly African Americans. In order to maintain this superiority, these white supremacists have erected laws, mores and customs to ensure that they remain in a superior position.

They have subjected African Americans to life without education, or if they are going to get an education, it will be in a public school with less funding than schools that might service the children of white supremacists. These same white supremacists have subjected African Americans to discrimination in the market by systematically denying African Americans access to jobs that they may be qualified for, but are given to other whites on the basis of color first, then abilities. These same white supremacists have devised a schools to prison pipeline to ensure that blacks represent a majority in prisons, even though they are a minority in the general population. And while these blacks are in prison, they are performing what is essentially free labor for businesses owned by people with white skin.

This game of systematic disadvantage for others has been in process for centuries. It is passed down from generation to generation with zero empirical evidence to support any contention of superiority.

But this game of superiority rests on a logical fallacy. You cannot claim superiority while at the same time, erecting barriers to prevent people of color from proving themselves equal. You cannot claim superiority while being dependent upon the exclusion or slavery of the person you deem to be inferior. You cannot claim superiority to another person if you depend on that person to perform work for you or your cohorts, for less than fair market value. You cannot claim superiority due to a religious belief, or even something your daddy told you when you were a kid if there is no evidence to support your contention.

Any perception of superiority by one person over another person or group of persons is at best, an illusion. A humble man recognizes his dependence upon the whole of the world. A deeply flawed man assumes that his wealth derives from his superiority over everyone else. This is because he cannot see his dependence upon others as a weakness. For if he does, he will have to admit that from everyone else, he has accrued wealth without work. He may have to acknowledge that he may have deceived everyone else into believe that his work is worth more than another without adequate scrutiny to be sure.

There is simply no superior human being. We are all dependent in some way upon each other. Once we admit that, life gets much easier. We don't have to be so hard on "the others" because we recognize that holding another man down doesn't improve the lot of anyone.

The myth of superiority has led those who believe they are superior to others to go to great lengths to prove it. They have erected barriers to the market for those they see as inferior people, but do not wish to talk about those barriers. They have passed laws for their own benefit, but that put the so-called inferior people at a disadvantage. They have erected a system of communication to perpetuate this myth. We call it "Mainstream Media".

There is no way to claim superiority over anyone without first taking an inventory of all the ways we are dependent upon each other. To find true peace, we all must find out for ourselves, how we can best complement the skills, experienced and abilities that others around have to offer. Then we must act on that information to be of service to others and to make their lives better.

True peace comes from making the lives of others better, without worrying about your own. That is how we survive as a species, and that is probably the only way we're going to continue as a species. I just can't think of a better way to live.
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